I am finally coming to terms with the fact that there is no longer a 2 at the beginning of the number that reveals my age (it’s taken a while!) as well as to the fact that leaving my twenties means I have to start making some serious changes. A healthier diet is something I am working on and in the same sort of area finally committing to a real skincare routine before those dreaded fine lines and wrinkles start appearing.
I did know that after turning 30 any woman should set about revising the way they take care of their skin, but with so many different products out there, and with many of them being so expensive, the whole process of doing the right thing for my skin seemed a little confusing to say the least. So I sought the help of an expert in the form of a dermatologist.
I really have not had too many problems with my skin since I was a teenager, so have fallen into the routine of simply using a foaming cleanser to remove dirt and makeup and following up with a light moisturizer. My biggest question for the dermatologist therefore was what I should be doing now, knowing that my skin is aging and wanting to prevent as many wrinkles as I can. Here is the advice she gave me:
Cleanse your skin twice a day using a mild cleanser. Rather than using the foaming cleanser you might be used to opt for one with glycolic acid which helps the skin's natural renewal process.
Exfoliate your skin in the evening before you go to bed rather than in the morning. This is because when you are sleeping your skin, like the rest of your body, goes into renewal mode. Removing dead skin before you retire for the night therefore makes this natural process even more efficient. The exfoliation should not be harsh though. The idea is only to remove skin that was almost ready to be come off anyway; you are just giving it a helping hand. Scrub away too hard and you will begin to remove new skin as well, leaving you with a red, blotchy look.
Whether you wear makeup or not never leave the house without protecting your skin with an antioxidant enhanced moisturizer that offers an SPF protection of at least 15 and is a broad spectrum cream, meaning that it protects against UVA and UVB rays from the sun. This applies to every day of the year as well, not just to the long hot days of summer. You should not forget the delicate skin of the lips either and use a sunblock enhanced lip balm, even beneath lipstick.
When it comes to the skin on the rest of your body making sure it is well moisturized is a must. To achieve that don't stay in the shower for longer than five minutes and keep the water warm, not hot. Using a moisturizing body wash, even though it washes off really will help as it helps to preserve the skin's natural 'moisture barrier'. Use a rich body cream as soon as you get out of the shower.
Remain hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day and cutting back on the coffee, which actually dehydrates you (the same is true of alcohol as well.) Add more 'colorful' vegetables to your diet as they contain the vitamins and antioxidants in abundance that the skin needs to keep itself naturally supple and healthy.
And as to the products to use themselves the good doctor had some great advice for a budget conscious gal like me; check the ingredients. If an inexpensive product has the same active ingredients as a more expensive brand - which is apparently often the case - opt for the cheaper brand as you will only be paying for the packaging and the name if you choose the pricier product.
Recently I saw a website that offer free makeup samples by mail of first brands, a good alternative if you are not confident buying expensive products. Give them a try!
I have to say I have never been a big fan of breakfasts. For years I preferred to start the day with a quick cup of coffee and then maybe grab a bagel around 10 a.m. if I was really hungry. Maybe not the best idea but it worked for me for years.
Moving out of my twenties though I have made a commitment to try and eat better and remain as healthy as I can. And apparently, according to all of the health experts that includes eating a good breakfast to give me the 'fuel' to get through the morning and avoid falling into that snack trap (did you know that one bagel has about 350 calories? Yikes)
Another thing I have been making serious efforts to do is cut back on fat, or the bad ones at least. Omega 3 fatty acids are a different story though, those are 'good fats' that you need more of in your diet. And apparently, starting your day with a breakfast that is rich in Omega 3s is a great idea.
Why? Omega 3 fatty acids, research has found over the years, help reduce the risk of heart disease and help keep cholesterol levels in check. There is also emerging science that seems to suggest that they can help ease depression, boost memory and even improve your memory. Well, if they can do all of that I guess an Omega 3 breakfast is not such a bad idea!
I discovered that a number of breakfast cereals are now 'fortified' with Omega 3, but as I cannot stand cereals I had to look elsewhere to find a good Omega 3 rich breakfast dish, and one that did not take too long to make, as I have zero spare time in the morning!
Fatty fish like salmon is really high in Omega 3s but the idea of fish for breakfast really did not work for me. What I did find out is that flaxseed is another real powerhouse source of Omega 3s. Great! But just how do you incorporate it into a decent breakfast?
Scouring the Internet I happened upon a great recipe though. No bake energy bites. That sounded good! So I figured I would give them a go. The fact that you can make a whole batch ahead of time and then store them in the fridge and the fact that they were sweet but healthy was a big plus too! In addition to the big shot of Omega 3 from the flaxseed the oatmeal is a great source of fiber and protein as well so the energy claim is absolutely true.
Here's the recipe
- 2 cups dry, old fashioned, oatmeal
- 1 1/3 cups toasted coconut flakes
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix well until combined. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes and then roll into one inch balls. Place in an airtight container to store.
How easy is that? And these taste amazing. As a breakfast, with a big glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee it's a great way to start the day. Even better, if I happen to be running late I pop a few in a Ziploc bag and eat on the go!
I am a huge baseball fan, and so the start of any new season is exciting for me. Sadly though, over the last few years work commitments and a distinct lack of money have prevented me from experiencing games in any other way than via the far too expensive - but well worth it - big screen TV that the boyfriend and I did indulge ourselves in (not only good for sports, things like the zombies from the Walking Dead look so much better in 1080p hi def too!)
However, as a New York Yankees fan and with the Captain himself Derek Jeter retiring this year, we have made a pact that we will get to at least a few games this season, even if it means on cutting out a few other excursions. So last week off we went to the ballpark, gloves in hand (catching a Derek Jeter foul ball this season would be pretty special) looking forward to a great afternoon of baseball and brews.
Not having been to the ballpark in a while I could not help but notice that more than a few things have changed. And more than a few have not. Parking is still a nightmare at the stadium and beer is still laughably expensive, $6.50 for about 8oz. Against that soda is $4 so why not go for the hard stuff, if Coors Light can really be called that. 'Real' baseball food is getting harder to find as well, we had to pass by five or six 'gourmet' food stands (who eats gourmet food the ballpark?) to find a good old fashioned hot dog, a plain one with just the dog and the bun, not a myriad of weird looking toppings.
All of those things have been minor annoyances at the ballpark for years though. And it's not just baseball or even just sports events, everywhere you go food is getting more ridiculously expensive and further away from the food we used to know. So it was not these expected problems that almost ruined my day, it was the behavior of some of the other fans.
Having not treated ourselves to a day at the ballpark for so long we had opted for mid-priced seats. It was a good turnout on the day, if the weather is decent it usually is for an afternoon game, but for once no one appeared to have stolen our seats although the row was otherwise packed. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted what looked like a group of business people - there were both men and women - who appeared to be playing hooky from the office. At the time I thought good for them, nothing like leaving work behind for a great day of hardball. I wasn't thinking that soon though.
From the moment the first pitch was thrown I could not hear the sounds that I love so much when watching baseball; the crack of the bat, the smack of the ball hitting leather. No, all I could hear was incessant ringing of cellphones and constant chatter from the group of business types who were obviously still conducting business and paying no attention to the game - or to the fact that their behavior was disturbing other people's enjoyment - at all. They did get some dirty looks and one man asked them to quiet it down, but it did no good. Eventually it became so annoying we left our good seats and headed up to sit in a couple of empty spots in the nosebleed section. We could obviously not see as well and had no chance of catching a ball, but at least we were away from all of that.
So I have a message for those business people and everyone else too. Cellphones are great. I love mine. But there are certain places that they do not belong. The ballpark is one of them but so is the movie theater or a concert. If you are really so important that you cannot live without your phone for a few hours then please go back to your glass tower and let the rest of us get on with enjoying ourselves and escaping the world for a while!
For a few months now my boyfriend and I had been having serious discussions about moving in together. In lots of ways it only made sense. We have been dating for over two years now and probably, when schedules allow, will think about getting married. Also we spend so much time at one another's places it seems silly for him to pay a $1,000 in rent and for me to do the same when we could just combine households and save a ton of money. It would also, we figured, be a good experiment. A trial marriage if you like. If thing really did not work out the at least we could part without the hassle and expense of divorce lawyers.
Two weeks ago we made the move. Deciding whose apartment to keep had been the first challenge. Both are in decent neighborhoods and both are reasonably good commutes. In the end we opted for his as it is a little bigger and his brother, with whom he is close lives nearby and being far away from my own family I know how nice that must be. It does mean a longer commute for me but not be too much, about ten minutes.
That, as I have since discovered was just the first compromise I had to make and to be honest, some have been easier to deal with than others. Getting rid of my couch because there was no room for it was no big deal, it was old anyway. Not having my band posters hanging in my bedroom anymore was tougher, I have has them since college, but then again it is no longer just my bedroom now and sharing a bathroom - don't get me started on that, that is still an issue!
People told me that the relationship would change once we moved in together and they were certainly right. We have probably had more niggling little arguments over the last two weeks than we have in the last two years. Rows over stupid things like whose shower curtain gets put up in the bathroom and who gets what side of the closet. Rows over my (admitted) occasional untidiness and his annoying habit of flipping channels in the middle of a TV program 'just to see something real quick.'
On the flip side we may have also had more fun in the last few weeks than ever before as well. When you are dating someone in some ways you are always on your guard. In two years I have never allowed to be around my boyfriend without at least a little makeup on. I don't have the time or opportunity to stick to that rule and more. And it has been very freeing and no, he did not shy away from my naked face as I had feared but said he preferred the look instead. I found out that he is actually kind of scared of the dark and certainly petrified of spiders, two things that oddly enough make him a little more endearing to me, and not as stiff as he used to seem (which he could sometimes)
If I were asked to advise others who are thinking about making that big leap all I could say is yes, they were right things will change. And it will be hard at times. But, if you are in a relationship for the long haul then it is a great way to move it to the next level and maybe discover if you really were 'made for each other' after all.
Over the last month or so all of these 'no makeup' selfies have been popping up online on Instagram and Facebook etc.
It's actually for a great cause- breast cancer research. The idea is that you challenge someone to be brave enough to post a selfie wearing zero makeup online if they do you make a donation to a cancer charity. Then the poster challenges someone else and the cycle keeps going. So far tens of thousands of dollars, pounds, euros etc. have been raised by women from all over the world.
After having avoided it for weeks, which was a great thing as I am the kind of person who won’t even to go to the grocery store without makeup, I ended up receiving a no make selfie challenge via Facebook from my old college roommate. I knew I had to do it; it’s a great cause that is actually very close to my heart, but seriously no makeup? None at all? I haven't been photographed like that since I was about 14! It was a really terrifying thought, but it had to be done.
Not wanting to look completely awful - and knowing that using the filters on Instagram was strictly off limits mores the pity - I went looking for some tips on how I might be able to make myself look at least half decent before I snapped the pic!
I actually found some great advice. Making sure that your face was completely clean was a bit of a no brainer but I had never thought of the idea of using a moisturizer with a little shimmer could give you a nice glow. I used Jergens FACE Daily Moisturizer and it really does work! Use it for several days in a row and you even get a nice little golden glow which cuts down on the amount of foundation you need to use.
I also learned a few other cool no makeup tricks. Here are some of them:
To light up your eyes, use Visine to remove all the red. I used to use eye drops all the time and I had forgotten how well they worked. Definitely a must purchase from now on.
To enhance your eyelashes, without mascara, (no mascara? I live for the stuff) use petroleum jelly instead. To my great surprise that one actually worked very well. That is actually not surprising though once you learn that the first mascara that Maybelline ever made was a combination of petroleum jelly and coal dust! I found that using a dry mascara wand (with no mascara on it of course that would be cheating) works really well and really does give a light mascara effect!
To make your lips look better, and even give them a little bit of natural color, use a damp toothbrush to exfoliate dead skin. It works very well to not only give your pout a smoother, neater look but the slightly rough motion also does give them a slightly flushed look. Top off with a little clear lip balm and the effect isn’t bad at all!
So armed with all of this new knowledge and having religiously gone through each step I grabbed my iPhone, took a deep breath and snapped my selfie. And you now what? It actually came out rather well! I was faltered by the comments it received when I braved posting it on Facebook (hopefully they were not just being nice) and although I have no intention of making a habit of going without makeup I have learned that maybe I don’t need quit so much.